After returning from Africa, my Father was assigned to three country churches in South Dakota. This is where I spent my teen and college years. This is a recollection of one of our yearly Easter Sunrise celebrations.
Old-fashioned Easter Sunrise Breakfast in South Dakota..!960
My Father came flying down the parsonage stairs still tucking in his shirt, and mumbling something about getting over to the church to help the men set-up all the tables on the lawn, in the lot between the house and the church. It was actually still dark out.
Mom had made sure Jim, my brother and I were “up and at ‘em” like she used to like to say. Jim was already dressed and messing with his trombone mouth piece, and I was grabbing Easter napkins and paper cups, getting ready to head over. It was Easter morning and we were preparing for our annual outdoor Easter sunrise breakfast.
Jim looked very collegiate at sixteen in his dress pants and sports coat. And Mom and I, well, even though I was thirteen going on fourteen she still loved the matching Mother and daughter dresses idea, and with the Mother and daughter banquet being our next church fuction, she decided to make us matching white brocade dresses. And I knew Mom looked better in her dress as her short auburn hair glinted in the kitchen light, and those white pumps definitely made her look stately. Me, on the other hand, very much a red head with a boyish shape, I felt sort of over dressed and a bit clumsy. Mom said I looked great, as I knew she would.
We all headed across the darkened lot. Dad was helping the farm men with all those long steel tables. As we made our way down the back stairs of the church to the kitchen we could smell that great German coffee, (with egg shells in the grounds), and hear that bacon and kielbasa just sizzling up a storm. Those wonderful German farm ladies, in their floral pinafore aprons were busy as bees, setting out a variety of just baked kucken, ( peach, prune apple). Some were mixing up pancake batter, and all of them had smiles on their full, ruddy faces glowing with the pride of this preparation for yet another Easter sunrise breakfast.
Everyone started showing up.The small town church only held 6o people, top capacity, although twenty more could stand in the doorway and back of church. Some of the parishioners came in through the front of the church, Moms were telling the little ones not to run, bounding in from a parking lot full of cars and trucks, a mixed array of Chevys, Impalas and Studebakers. The men chatted farm talk with their tummies buldging a bit in their Sunday best vests, showing the well-fed rewards from this planting time, and caring wives. I noticed the men always had a mix of mud and manure on their boots, because hours before now they had to head to the barn to shovel manure and make sure the cows were milked. That was just a given.
The women in bright blue, yellow, pink and green gingham, dotted swiss and cotton , and the hats, oh my, shiny fruit, chiffon, lace and ribbons, of course, every color in the rainbow. The little kids were racing around so excited , and barely able to contain themselves thinking about all that Easter candy.
The tables outdoor were now covered in shiny white plastic with clips to hold, in case of a small morning breeze. And the older kids, in Sunday School had made little “He is Risen” crosses and were scotch taping them to the tables and placing small bowls of chocolate eggs around.The sun was just ready to come up, and the kitchen women came and we all sat down.
As the sun peeked out from behind a low cloud, my Father stood up smiling. He said a prayer thanking God for giving up his only Son to die and rise again for us. He thanked God for the lovely food we were about to eat that our ladies had made for us, and upon the “Amen”, the kitchen ladies left and came back with tray and trays of pancakes, bacon, kielbasa, kucken, cinnamon rolls, eggs, and that great German coffee. Everyone started eating.
I looked across the table at my brother Jim, we both looked at Mom, who was looking at Dad with admiration. The apple trees behind us glistened, as did the dew covered grass around us.
This was Easter sunrise breakfast in preparation of our Easter service, an old-fashioned memory from long ago.
cindy and Jim